politics

Okinawan governor to visit Washington

58 Comments

Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima on Sunday leaves for the U.S. where he plans to meet with U.S. government officials.

Nakaima told a news conference in Tokyo that he wants to discuss a review of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) following last week's alleged rape of a woman by two U.S. servicemen, TV Asahi reported.

The governor also plans to protest the deployment of 12 U.S. Osprey aircraft at the U.S. air base in Futenma.

Nakaima has long maintained that the Japanese government does not accurately convey the wishes of local people in Okinawa when it negotiates defense issues with the U.S. government.

During his visit to Washington, which will last until Thursday, Nakaima will meet with low-level Pentagon officials.

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Nakaima has long maintained that the Japanese government does not accurately convey the wishes of local people in Okinawa when it negotiates defense issues with the U.S. government.

You either love him or hate him depending on your stance on the base issues, but you have to admire Nakaima for not backing down on this issue.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Good luck. A trip to D.C. Is not going sway them

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Low level Pentagon officials. That's how serious they take him

4 ( +7 / -3 )

he wants to discuss a review of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)

with low-level Pentagon officials.

Wow. I didn't know the governor of a prefecture and low-level Pentagon officials have the power to amend SOFA. Good luck with that.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Looks like Japan will be sending two different messages to Washington; one from Okinawa and the other from Nagatacho.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"You either love him or hate him depending on your stance on the base issues, but you have to admire Nakaima for not backing down on this issue."

@saidani

Yeah, it takes a lot of ball$ to meet with "low-level" Pentagon officials. LOL

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yeah, it takes a lot of ball$ to meet with "low-level" Pentagon officials.

So, you're suggesting that the best course for Nakaima is to basically do nothing. Or continue to pound his head on the wall by going through official channels. The creativity evident in those suggestions would seem to indicate that you are not a leader among your peers.

But, please....laugh at Nakaima. It is certain to help the situation.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"So, you're suggesting that the best course for Nakaima is to basically do nothing. Or continue to pound his head on the wall by going through official channels. The creativity evident in those suggestions would seem to indicate that you are not a leader among your peers.

But, please....laugh at Nakaima. It is certain to help the situation."

LMAO... No, I'm not laughing at Nakaima, but rather at your cheerleading for him. I'm not suggesting any course for Nakaima because, contrary to what you believe, I seriously doubt if he's reading any of these posts to begin with. Secondly, if you were such a great leader, amongst your peers or otherwise, I would bet that you would be joining Nakaima on his trip to Washington, rather than posting your "foreign policy" on here.

So please tell me, how much are you helping the situation? LOL

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No, I'm not laughing at Nakaima, but rather at your cheerleading for him.

How was I cheerleading? I simply stated an admiration for his tenacity and persistence. You singled me out to respond by making light of who he was meeting with which was not what I was expressing my admiration for.

That said, I support Nakaima's efforts, both small and large. You diminish what he and Okinawans are doing to try to regain control of the islands and their lives, and yet, look what Okinawa has accomplished. They have delayed a base relocation plan that has been in the works in one form or another since the 1960s. They have caused the ouster of a Japanese PM and his government, several Cabinet level and Ministerial level officials, and even officials on the US side. They have caused major rifts in the sacrosanct Japan/US alliance. They have succeeded in getting the US to relax part of the SOFA. And they have raised the stakes in Okinawa to a point that US troops are now under curfew so as not to allow the situation to get out of control. They have held the most powerful nation in the history of the world at bay and will continue to do that until the US either concedes or decides to use force to resolve the issues, in which case, everyone loses, including the Americans.

As for the suggestion that I should accompany Nakaima to Washington, this tends to confirm my earlier assessment of your creative abilities. You should stop making these suggestions.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"As for the suggestion that I should accompany Nakaima to Washington, this tends to confirm my earlier assessment of your creative abilities. You should stop making these suggestions."

LMAO... Please point out where I suggested that you "SHOULD" accompany him? While you're busy figuring that one out, I'll be kicking back watching some college football. LOL

0 ( +2 / -2 )

LMAO... Touche`. Believe it or not, asside from all of the back and forth, you do have a few points on the base/Marines issue that I do agree with.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

toguro Oct. 21, 2012 - 10:38AM JST

Indeed. I have given you more than a few "thumbs-up" for your comments in the past. And thanks for ending this back and forth. I was getting weary from it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Quote"Nakaima has long maintained that the Japanese government does not accurately convey the wishes of local people in Okinawa when it negotiates defense issues with the U.S. government. End Quote..

So why in the heck are you NOT going to Tokyo??? The Japanese Government is not in Washington.. I agree with a few other comments... meeting with low level officials wont do much good. But hey I guess if it give people hope, then let him. Either way, it wont change anything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I second Saidani-san's posting.

The Tokyo government does not have the cohones to say anything against the US bases, but Nakaima does.

He is acting to represent his people.

He's making the effort to actually get on a plane and meet with these guys and let him know what his prefecture thinks.

What's not to admire about this?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

He is representing his people in Washington. The government is Tokyo is not doing it so someone has to do it.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

What's not to admire about this?

He and his entourage that go are wasting my tax money for a trip that is useless. There is nothing he can do in revising the SOFA nor with regards to the Ospreys here either. Those issues are dealt with at the national level.

I would prefer that he stay home and do his job of trying to stimulate the Okinawa economy.

He's making the effort to actually get on a plane and meet with these guys and let him know what his prefecture thinks.

To "low level" pentagon officials? Yeah right, next time save the money and send a letter.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What's not to admire about this?

It achieves nothing? The alliance is between Japan and the US, not the US and Okinawa.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Brian SuttonOct. 21, 2012 - 11:54AM JST: So why in the heck are you NOT going to Tokyo??? The Japanese Government is not in Washington.. I agree with a few other comments... meeting with low level officials wont do much good.

PM in Tokyo changed couple times yearly and none of those PMs ever kept promise so Nakaima's to go to DC. Don't worry about only low levels will see him, their frigging above would closely watch what he say and it's even better if he see media there!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He's going to meet with "low-level officials": Does that mean officials only in the basement of the Pentagon? When will this silly game ever end. It's getting old and fast.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

PM in Tokyo changed couple times yearly and none of those PMs ever kept promise so Nakaima's to go to DC.

Actually you are wrong, the PM's here have not changed a "couple of times yearly" they have been averaging roughly a year or so before changing over.

The only PM that didn't keep his promise was Hatoyama in reality and part of the reason he lost his job was because of the promise he made to the Okinawan people, not Nakaima.

Nakaima is an old fool who sounds like he's ready for the old folks home when he reads anything in the prefectural assembly.

Consider this, he wont go alone that's for sure, at least 5, if not more people will go with him and if they fly economy at a cost of roughly 250,000 yen per person, include hotel costs, transportation, etc etc etc, and the obligation of going out on the town for drinks and what not, this excursion in futility is going to cost at least a couple million yen.

That is more money than many Okinawan families earn in a year. He KNOWS nothing will come from it, but he is going anyway. That is NOT a leader in my opinion, that's just someone who thinks he knows what he is doing vs someone who knows that this idea is folly and he is better off fighting the fight within his own country and government.

This is just a PR stunt that I wish the people here in Okinawa would do something about and kick him out of office!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Okinawa govonor has no confidence at all with the Noda administration in Tokyo! Dont be surprised, the central government of DPJ has 'betrayed' and forgotton them already and Mr Noda, his DPJ is an 'out going one'!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nakaima will meet with low-level Pentagon officials

This is just P.R instead a sincekerlly discussions of American servicemen misconducts! The fact is the US government has no respect at all at Okinawa people but her own 'interest'! Why everyone in Japan pretends 'not getting that fact'!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There's a shame factor to Nakaima's actions too.

The Tokyo government doesn't have the bollix to say no to the US military, but Nakaima does.

He's shaming them and showing them up for the toadying yes men that they are.

Good on you, Nakaima!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

The Tokyo government doesn't have the bollix to say no to the US military, but Nakaima does

If you haven't figured it out yet let me spell it out for you. Whatever Nakaima chooses to say means absolutely nothing. . He's barking up the wrong tree and the people at the pentagon are going to treat him appropriately as well, a minor functionary as he his, hence "lower-ranking" officials.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Police in Okinawa arrested the perps in the alleged rape directly, with no dilly-dallying to put them in custody, which means that the Staus of Forces Agreement functioned exactly the way the host country has demanded. So, what is there to "review" this time?

While there is certainly a legitimate beef with the commission of the crime itself, the editors of this story don't seem to understand the purpose of a SOFA. Maybe it can be amended so that all legal representation is completely denied, and there's need for a trial if enough people think the miscreant is guilty.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He should take a really good interpreter with him, someone who understands and is sympathetic with both sides. Somehow I doubt this will happen, so he may be doomed from the start.

Sadly I think he is going there looking over his shoulder as a statement for the people in Okinawa and the people in Tokyo, with no real desire to actually communicate with anyone or be friendly in Washington. I am guessing that US govt officials will not know how to deal with him at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nakaima is obviously taking this seriously:

(From the Okinawa Times)

According to police, the two U.S. Marines called over to the woman in broken Japanese. When she ignored them and continued on her way, they came up from behind and held her in a full nelson, then dragging her into a secluded spot for the rape.

Why haven't "prevention of future incidents" and "enforcement of strict discipline" already been put in place, and why do these incidents continue to occur?

Sixty seven years have passed since the end of the war. Is there any other region in which women's human rights have been threatened for such a period? At a meeting of the Prefectural Assembly Special Committee on U.S. Military Affairs, Okinawa police revealed that even in the relatively limited period since Okinawa was officially returned to Japan at the end of last year, there have been 127 cases of rape and attempted rape by members of U.S. Forces. And these are only the recorded incidents.

"B52s in the sky, submarines in the sea, toxic gases on the ground, and nowhere to hide," is how Okinawa was described before it was returned to Japan, and when it comes to the excessive burden of the bases, nothing has fundamentally changed since then.

"Ospreys in the sky, and crimes by U.S. servicemen on the ground" - that is the current situation 40 years on. Military considerations still remain the priority, while the safety and wellbeing of residents are casually dismissed.

http://themoderatevoice.com/164809/okinawans-will-spew-magma-over-crimes-of-u-s-forces-okinawa-times-japan/#GPK7qMAoMPRWwwBV.99

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Yo Bertie; Please try to get your story straight first;

According to police, the two U.S. Marines called over to the woman in broken Japanese. When she ignored them and continued on her way, they came up from behind and held her in a full nelson, then dragging her into a secluded spot for the rape.

They weren't Marines they were in the Navy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Yubaru, that is actually what that article said, and right above it in the same article it said they were sailors. It was a snippet from an editorial in the Okinawan Times so factually it is at the discretion of the author who didn't bother to get their story right.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He's barking up the wrong tree

So, if that is the wrong tree, which is the right tree?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yo Yubaru,

I doubt that the young woman cared very much whether the guy who held her in a half nelson or his mate who did his imitation of a baboon in heat were marines, infantry or air force.

Picking a tiny irrelevant detail out of the article doesn't make it any less than an unforgivable crime.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

@ Bertie, its not irrelevant if you are a Marine.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If you want to by-pass the Tokyo government and have your own negotiations with a foreign government, then it means you no longer want to be the 47th prefecture of Japan. So, will you mind running a plebiscite for cessation from Japan? If not, then you should not alienate your people by providing them with their options. Politicians play different games with their constituents.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Waste of the Okinawan people's money if you ask me. Like all the trips that Okinawan mayors take to the US, they meet no one and waste money. Just a free vacation for him.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Matthew, thank you!

It is very relevant considering that the Marines on Okinawa have been placed under a microscope and dissected for every little nit-picky thing that the media can think of.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I doubt that the young woman cared very much whether the guy who held her in a half nelson or his mate who did his imitation of a baboon in heat were marines, infantry or air force.

Quite so, however let's keep the facts straight and not convict the wrong folks here. It's not semantics either, there is a very distinct difference between the services and it behooves the press to get their facts right!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Tokyo government is like a branch office of Washington. As far as its foreign policy is concerned, especially when the U.S. military in Okinawa is involved, it acts as faithfully as Washington dictates. Such is the bilateral relations between the two nations -- suzerain and vassal relations.

Nakaima is one of the 48 governors of 48 prefectures in Japan. Since diplomacy is in the state's exclusive jurisdiction, a local governor has no say about diplomatic issues such as a review of the SOFA and Osprey deployment.

Nakaima is fully aware of the limit of his power. He doesn't go to Washington to negotiate the rape incident and Osprey deployment issues with Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta. He is going there to appeal to the American people about the injustice being imposed upon Okinawa through make-believe diplomacy. He is going to address a symposium attended by diplomatic specialists and scholars that he sponsors and presides over as the Governor of Okinawa.

Clinton and Panetta may act as if they were disinterested but, sure enough, they will have to pay close attention to what's going on there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He is going there to appeal to the American people about the injustice being imposed upon Okinawa through make-believe diplomacy.

If his goal is to go to the American people it's folly to go to the pentagon, he should go to the New York Times, The Washington Post, or CNN etc etc etc, that is if they would be willing to talk with him.

Better yet take a page from the Chinese method of "diplomacy", buy a one page ad instead, I'm sure that the newspapers would listen to that.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Clinton and Panetta may act as if they were disinterested but, sure enough, they will have to pay close attention to what's going on there.

Actually no they won't, they have people below them that handle things like this. There is nothing new that Nakaima will say that will get their attention. He could just as easily sent a recording as all he will do is repeat himself.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nakaima is going to Washington.

Whether this has much effect on Pentagon employees, whether high level or drones doesn't matter in the slightest.

His gesture gets across.

It gets across big.

It shames the brown-nosed Japanese "government."

It tells the people of Okinawa that he is right behind them.

And it will communicate to high level Pentagon and US government.

Okinawa has had enough.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Katharine_H_S_-Moon/3019

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Yubaru,

Yours is a very typical reaction to my post from someone who is interested only in protecting the U.S.interests in the region and keeping the status quo forever in Okinawa. Don't you feel any qualms about inflicting great pains and injustice upon another people for so many years? Do Okinawa's pains and burdens dwarf before the great United States' pursuing of its national principle and idealism of democracy and liberty?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So, if that is the wrong tree, which is the right tree?

His own government, that's who. If at first you don't succeed.............. the answer was as obvious as I have to leave for work now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't you feel any qualms about inflicting great pains and injustice upon another people for so many years? Do Okinawa's pains and burdens dwarf before the great United States' pursuing of its national principle and idealism of democracy and liberty?

Don't you fee any qualms about having potentially 10% to 15% or even higher unemployment? Don't you have any qualms about Okinawa becoming a HUGE burden on the already over taxed national government? Don't you have any qualms about Okinawa having a part in being responsible for assisting in the defense agreement that the national government has with the US?

I could go on, but it's pointless. You want your cake and to eat it too.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yubasu (Oct. 22, 2012 - 04:16PM JST),

Feel like I'm beating the air. Does Okinawa's higher unemployment rate cause any pains to your country, the U.S.A.? You bring up problems on completely different levels. They are domestic problems we must deal with and solve ourselves.

You cannot compare these internal, domestic problems with the pains and burdens the U.S. military presence forces us to forbear.

Today's Ryukyu Shimpo, a local newspaper, reports that the number of rape incidents involving U.S. service members that the police at least have taken cognizance of since Okinawa's reversion counts 127 cases. Many other cases go unrecognized, it is often said.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Voiceofokinawa-san,

Feel like I'm beating the air.

You are not.

There are those who read and respect your views.

I for one.

The military have a narrower view. This is natural, They forfeited their right to think and analyse when they joined up.

I respect Nakaima because he is putting the sycophant Tokyo government to shame.

Actions speak louder than words.

And you can bet that his action will be picked up not only by higher level people in Washington and Tokyo, but also by the US media that Yubaru-san, in his infinite wisdom advises.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Chiji,

While in DC please ask for help in getting your excessive crime rate under control. Figures from the Okinawa prefectural police show the percentage of crimes committed by US SOFA personnel has fallen from a high in 1973 of 6.9% of all crimes to 0.8% in 2011. Last year, the group accounted for around 3% of Okinawa’s total population.

So... that means that the local population crime rate is 3.5 times greater than that of the Military community. If a Goveror could reduce the crime rates to less than 1/3 of the current he would be assured re-election.

Isnt that what this is all about?? Just sayin!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

His gesture gets across.

It gets across big.

It invades the schedule books of a few low-level Pentagon officials.

For anyone else knowledgeable or interested in this issue, it is a complete bore. Just part of a script. Beyond the base issue and pork barrel projects, Okinawan politics has no other driving forces.

Nakaima is an LDP stooge and at heart doesn't give two sh**ts about the the humanitarian aspects of the base issue. But he knows how to play the game. As long as he follows the usual 'hantai' script, the Okinawan protesters will boo the Americans and and at the same time vote for the very party that has no intention of doing anything to revise SOFA. Because everyone knows the LDP has the connections, with the US military and the construction companies.

Sounds like a good use of taxpayer money, Nakaima flying to the US for this very important meeting.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

okimike67 (Oct. 22, 2012 - 08:51PM JST),

The police and the military are similar in that they are both instituted to protect and defend the security and welfare of people. Naturally, the crime rate within the police and the military must be lower than that of society in general. Nay, it must be indefinitely near zero.

Therefore, okimike67 cannot boast that the crime rate of the U.S. military community in Okinawa is 0.8% in 2011 fallen from 6.9% in 1973, pointing out the figure (0.8%) is lower than most of Okinawan communities.

Let me list the crime rates of some Okinawan communities just for your reference:

Chatan Town: 1.3%; Naha City: 1.3%; Ginowan City: 0.9%; Okinawa City: 1.0%; Kadena Town: 1.0%; Urasoe City: 0.9%; Yomitan Village: 0.6%; Kin Town: 0.6%.

Let me also list the crime rates of some of Tokyo's municipalities:

Chiyoda Ward: 9.0%; Fussa City: 4.6%: Shibuya Ward: 3.6%; Shinjuku Ward: 3.3%; Tachikawa City: 2.8%; Minato Ward: 2.6%.

The crime rate (0.8%) of the U.S. military community in Okinawa is ostensibly lower than most of Okinawan communities. Even so, I must say it's still much much higher than what is expected of security forces, especially if the fact is taken into consideration that that security force is a foreign military pretending themselves to be "guests" and "good neighbors."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If this incident would not have happened and the crime rate dropped to absolute zero some on this post would STILL find some reason to whine and complain. Alleged perps are in Japanese custody. US military is in full cooperation with Japanese police. They will get all that is coming to them if found guilty. I guess some of you want their heads on a platter. No one that posts here is all knowing or have the answers to please everyone but some of you truly take the cake.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MoBass4u,

The alleged suspects are in Japanese custody all right. They were here on a TDY, staying in a local hotel, and were to leave Okinawa by USNS on the day they were arrested.

The Japanese police were lucky enough to be able to take them into custody. But suppose they had already gone or stayed on a military compound, were they so lucky? It only depends on the U.S. authorities' discretion or sympathy that the Japanese police can take U.S. military suspects into custody and investigate.

In lighter cases, such as traffic accidents involving injuries or deaths outside bases, a suspect often tries to evade Japanese police investigation by escaping into a base, an extraterritorial zone the Japanese police cannot enter, saying he was on duty. (Returning from a military-sponsored party can be considered "on duty.")

1 ( +2 / -1 )

voiceofokinawa,

Yes, this did happen in the past but it is no longer the case. Even if they had left and enough info was known they would be returned for an investigation. For the record I like most people do not in any way back up these guys if in fact it did happen. Face it, there have been times where people were wrongly accused and we know the drill in Japan......hold 'em for 23 days and then we'll get a judge to extend it for another 23. That my friend is but one of the many reasons behind the SOFA. I am not in any way connected to law enforcement but NOBODY who posts here is 'in the know' of all the details. At least wait for the details to come out from a credible source. If they are guilty the laws of Japan and the US will do what they do.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't know about it in detail but the JSDF is reported to have signed a similar status of forces agreement with Iraq when they were deployed there at the strong request of the U.S. I think other foreign forces did the same. So you may think there's nothing wrong for the U.S. forces in Japan to be operating under the SOFA agreement.

But anyone who argues for the Japan-U.S. SOFA agreement is missing one very important point. The U.S. forces are not staying here temporarily and their bases and number of personnel are so enormous as to be called the virtual occupation of Japan or at least part of it, making the area its firm military colony.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

chibariyo nakaima!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

voiceofokinawa,

never said or thought that there is anything wrong with operating under a SOFA. As you pointed out it is a necessary thing when operating where laws are not........shall we say equitable. Also remember that ALL things come to an end and the bases in Okinawa are no exception.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

MoBass4u (Oct. 23, 2012 - 01:58PM JST),

My post above (Oct. 23, 2012 - 12:10PM JST ) was not particularly addressed to you, but of course you could take it that way.

Now, you have suddenly become philosophical as if you had attained satori: "All things come to an end and the bases in Okinawa are no exception."

Of course, everything in the world changes as time passes. The author of "The Tale of Heike" wrote in the 12th century: "The sound of the Gion Shoja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sala flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind."

But, of course, you don't want to tell us to wait patiently forever, do you?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On Tuesday, he separately visited Mark Lippert, assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific security affairs, and Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs,

When they said low level, they meant low level.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru.

Mark Lippert and Kurt Campbell are high-ranking U.S. government officials, not low-level officials as you want them to be. Of course, it is regrettable that Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima can't meet President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta while in Washington on the ground that he doesn't represent the Japanese government.

That's very unfortunate, unfair and even iniquitous in light of the fact that on Monday Prime Minister Toshihiko Noda took time to meet Richard Armitage, president of Armitage International, a private firm, and Stephen Hadley, a senior advisor at United States Institute of Peace. In other words, Noda met private citizens in his office and discussed such important policy line as Japan-U.S. relations and probably reassured them of Japan's unchanged support for the U.S. military realignment in Japan (Okinawa).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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